Hearing deafness

Hearing deafness is a condition that affects many in the population. Nearly one third of Americans are experiencing some type of hearing loss, the majority of which are aged 65 and above. Hearing deafness is the third most common condition affecting elderly Americans, after hypertension and arthritis.  Hearing deafness is not an easy condition. It causes difficulty in expression through language, makes understanding of spoke language difficult, and predisposes the individual to social isolation. Hearing difficulties also predisposes the sufferer to accidents since loss of hearing can make them oblivious to warning bells and sounds.

Causes Of Hearing deafness

There are many causes for hearing deafness. Some possibilities are:
Diseases like diabetes and chronic infection
Trauma from an accident
As a side effect of medications like vancomycin and gentamycin and some anti-cancer drugs
Long-term exposure to loud noise or very loud, sudden sounds (i.e. from a gunshot next to one’s ear)
Fusion of ear bones

Types of Hearing Deafness

Hearing deafness is categorized into three broad types. These are conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs as a result of a structural defect or obstruction in the ear. A blocked ear canal is one example of a cause for conductive hearing loss, and is one which is very easy to treat. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the vestibucochlear nerve or any of the hair cells in the Organ of Corti, which causes a reduction in the conduction of sound. This can be treated by surgery, the use of hearing aids, or cochlear implants. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss in the same ear. The problem occurs both in the outer or middle and inner ear.

Implications of Hearing Deafness

Depending on the age of the onset of the condition, hearing deafness can be mild, moderate or severe. Even mild hearing deafness can have serious implications for very young children who are still learning to talk. Children who have some degree of hearing difficulties will also need special education to help them learn in areas like regular speech, language and auditory training, sign language, how to find favorable seating in order to facilitate observation of the speaker as well as counseling to minimize the emotional effects of the condition on the child.

When it comes to the elderly, once the need for surgery or the use of hearing aids is established, care must be taken to assist the individual in deciding the mode of treatment for her or him. Often older people are hesitant about using hearing aids, especially if they are easily intimidated by technology. Family members must be careful not to push their hearing impaired parents in to wearing hearing aids, since this can only lead to stronger resistance. Counseling is also encouraged. Family members must also be aware that the elderly, especially those who are hearing impaired but do not wear hearing-assistive devices are at a greater risk for injury and accidents.